Yesterday was the men’s 4 by 10km relay. At the team meeting on Thursday night we changed things up from previous relays by setting a goal for the team, not just individual goals. We set our sights on a top-8 finish. We also talked about relay strategy and how it’s more important, especially for the first three legs, to not blow up (and consequently lose minutes) than it is to gain seconds. The discussion we had was really good for me to reevaluate my relay strategy.
Andy Newell skied an awesome scramble leg. He came in with the lead pack. Kris Freeman skied well until the last couple of kilometers when he really struggled. He finished his leg in ninth, thirty seconds behind our goal of top-8. I felt good and controlled on my leg. A french skier started the third leg just behind me. He skied the fasted time for the third leg and was a great person for me to follow. I followed him for the first two laps then tried to drop him on the third. He was too tough for me to drop and we finished together. I was still in ninth place when I tagged off to Tad Elliott, but we were only three seconds behind seventh place. We were one minute behind the leaders. The pace of the leaders at the beginning of the last leg was slower than a walk. Nobody wanted to lead. Tad heard this from our coaches and decided to risk blowing up to try to catch the lead pack. He caught them amazingly quickly, making up one minute in 3.3 kilometers. He was unable to hold on for too long and he finished in tenth place. Although we fell short of our goal, we are happy to be “in the mix”. Tenth place is our best relay finish at a major championships since the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002.
Jessie Diggins convinced us to follow the girls lead with some team spirit. I opted for glitter:
The other boys went with face paint. Even Erik Bjornsen, who wasn’t skiing yesterday, got in on the action.
Here’s Jessie painting Kris’s face:
While I was in Jessie’s room I was checking out her gold medal from the Team Sprint last Sunday:
It was a beautiful day for the race yesterday! Here’s a look at the lead pack on the second leg (Kris’s leg):
The crowds were the biggest they’ve been all week. They reminded me of World Champs in Oslo two years ago. Here’s Andy Newell getting interviewed after his leg:
It was HOT out:
24 degrees Celsius is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Here’s a look at Tad Elliott coming down the “teardrop” as the leaders go up it with 400 meters to go in the race:
Here’s Tad (second place) along with France (leading) and Japan going around the teardrop:
Here’s Norway’s Petter Northug leading Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson at the finish:
And here’s Tad crossing the finish line:
Andy was hanging out in the sun watching the last three legs:
At yesterday’s pre-race meeting, it was Jessie’s turn to make an entrance. She came dancing in: